The withdrawal of the constitutional challenges and the lifting of the suspension of Catalan laws on housing emergencies are starting to bring results. On one hand, and for the first time, the right to the use of an empty flat owned by a bank is now in municipal hands. On the other hand, proceedings have been started to fine another owner of multiple properties who wanted to evict a vulnerable family with having offered then a social rent alternative.
These are the first results of the application of the Catalan laws on the housing emergency (Act 24/2015 and Act 4/2016) after the Constitutional Court withdrew the constitutional challenges to them and lifted their suspension.
The City Council is resuming its activities to fine owners of multiple properties that don’t comply with emergency housing laws. These laws were suspended due to the constitutional challenge lodged with the Constitutional Court by the central government.
First expropriation, in Besòs i el Maresme
In this respect, Act 4/2016 on protection measures for the right to housing of people at risk of residential exclusion was used to carry out the first expropriation of the usage rights for an empty flat owned by the BBVA. The home, located in the neighbourhood of El Besòs i el Maresme, in the district of Sant Martí, will become part of the municipal pool of affordable rental property in the city.
The law enables homes to be expropriated in areas where there is demonstrable high demand for housing. They homes must be on the register of empty homes kept by the Catalan Housing Agency or meet the conditions to be included on it.
The flat will form part of the municipal housing pool for ten years, the maximum period established by the law.
Fine for not offering social rent
The renewed validity of the Catalan legislation on housing has also enabled proceedings to be taken against an owner of multiple properties. In this case, the owner started a process to evict a vulnerable family from the neighbourhood of El Raval without having offered them a social rent option.
The law applied was Act 24/2015 on urgent measures to tackle the housing emergency and energy poverty. As this is considered a serious offence, a fine of up to 90,000 euros may be imposed.
The procedure is the first since the suspension of the law was lifted. Three hundred more cases are currently being handled where social rents should have been offered in similar situations.
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